What are the best ways to get unbiased opinions about a school?

College Search

Our counselors answered:

What are the best ways to get unbiased opinions about a school?

Reecy Aresty
College Admissions/Financial Aid Expert & Author Payless For College, Inc.

What are the best ways to get unbiased opinions about a school?

Talk to current & past students, guidance counselors, and college admissions experts who have NO ax to grind! Get copies of student newspapers and see what their comments are. Obviously, there are other sources of info on the Internet; a Google search can reveal unlimited possibilities!

Bill Pruden
Head of Upper School, College Counselor Ravenscroft School

What are the best ways to get unbiased opinions about a school?

I don't know that you truly can for everyone has their own biases and their own values and anything they share, however sincere, reflects, at least in part, that fact. Schools seek to present a particular message based on their needs and what they are seeking in a student body and evey alum or current student is offering opinions and information viewed through their personal lens. Statstics can be somewhat objective but what they measure is only a fraction of the whole picture. Education is a tremendously human process and no amount of study or research can give you a definitive answer about how it will resonate with another individual. You can--and should--try to get as much information as you can, but in the end it will come down to how the process and the experience connects with you

Nancy Milne
Owner Milne Collegiate Consulting

What are the best ways to get unbiased opinions about a school?

This is a tough question. Everyone wants you to believe that their school is the best. From faculty, current students and alums; they are biased. One of my favorite questions to ask is: if money were no object, what would you like to see the school do with their next monetary gift? It's a nicer way of finding out a weakness on campus and answers tend to come quickly. Read the school newspaper, check out bulletin boards on campus, keep talking to folks, but just realize that some may not be as objective as you'd like.

Lora Lewis
Educational Consultant Lora Lewis Consulting

What are the best ways to get unbiased opinions about a school?

There is no such thing as an unbiased opinion. Whether you're talking to a school's admission officer, a current student, or a twenty-year alum, they're comments are all going to be influenced by their own experience. Seek out information about schools wherever and from whomever you can, but it's up to you to filter their comments wisely. Whenever possible, find ways to form your own opinions about schools. Visit campuses and sit in on classes. Explore the research and other work faculty and students are producing. Hang out on campus both on a weekday and a weekend. Spend time looking and listening, then decide what YOU think.

Yana Geyfman

What are the best ways to get unbiased opinions about a school?

The best way to get an unbiased opinion about the school is to visit the school, sit in a class, take a tour, ask questions from tour guides and other students attending the university/college- its really about an individualized experience not about ranking.

Greer Bevel
University Counselor/IBDP History Teacher International School of Latvia

What are the best ways to get unbiased opinions about a school?

There are two ways to accomplish this: The Overnight Visit Method: If you can afford it, visit the college yourself and experience a small slice of college life first-hand. If you can spend a night there, you’ll really get a honest depiction of college life both in and out of the classroom. The Research Method: Read as many guides (both print and online) as you can about your college of choice. Then you can form your own unbiased opinion of the college. It is also helpful to read guides and websites that offer “insider” views of the colleges taken from student perspectives. Filter all of these voices, look for patterns and form your own opinion based on your research. Finally, don’t blindly trust the judgment and experiences of others. Certainly, alumni can give you a picture of what the college was like during their time there, but colleges change in character and program constantly. The only way to know if a college is right for you is to follow your own opinion based on your experience or research.

Zahir Robb
College Counselor The Right Fit College

What are the best ways to get unbiased opinions about a school?

Speak to those that are "unbiased". Working with an independent counselor is a start, but on your own, talk to students on campus who really have little incentive to lie to you. If you know alumni at your school or within your community, you can also get good feedback there. Some online sites promise behind the scenes reviews, but I find that the majority of these are negative, so take them with a grain of salt. Also remember that there are an number of guidebooks out there written by professionals in the field with a good overview of schools without any interest of selling you on one school over another.

Tira Harpaz
Founder CollegeBound Advice

What are the best ways to get unbiased opinions about a school?

It's actually hard to get unbiased opinions because most people have an opinion one way or the other. To get a range of opinions, look at rankings and opinion sites that give student views on the school, try and speak to alumni and current students, talk to your guidance counselor and look at fact-based information such as the common data set or the US government's college navigator site. In addition, I would take a look at the college newspaper, which often gives information on campus issues.

Kiersten Murphy
Executive Director and Founder Murphy College Consultants LLC

What are the best ways to get unbiased opinions about a school?

Research the college's website, taking note of key factors that are important for your success. Then, explore 'third party' resources, but do so with a grain of salt, knowing that many of the resources available are subjective. Explore books like Colleges That Change Lives, The Fiske Guide, and obviously use online resources like College Navigator (data driven) and Unigo.

Brittany Maschal
Founder/Director B. Maschal Educational Consulting

What are the best ways to get unbiased opinions about a school?

Everyone will have an opinion that in one way or another could be biased. I think the best way to evaluate a school is combining methods. First read about the school online on a site like UNIGO as well as the schools own website. If you like what you read (and see) online try to schedule a visit. On an official visit you will hear about the school from admissions staff and current students who serve as ambassadors. You should also talk to any friends or relatives that may have attended the institution to get their perspective. All of these avenues should be explored so you can come up with your own opinion of the school as it relates to your interests and goals.